EUGENE, Ore. - A changing of the guard is underway on the Lane County Board of Commissioners that likely spells the end for the progressive majority on the five member panel.
"Now the hard work begins," says West Lane Commissioner-elect Jay Bozievich.
Getting elected was just the first step for the Elmira resident and Eugene Water and Electric Board civil engineer. Now it's transition time.
"The other commissioners have reached out, and I'm hoping to be meeting with all of them, so it's going very well, but boy, is there a lot to learn," he said.
"We can't wait for me to come up to a learning curve, because we have so much to deal with in that first 100 days," he said.
Bozievich is already meeting with department heads, and he's sat in on board meetings along with Springfield commissioner-elect, Sid Leiken.
While the commission seats are non-partisan, what had been a more left-leaning majority has been replaced with a progressive-conservative split that could put Stewart in the position of centrist swing vote, said Steve Candee, an American politics instructor at Lane Community College.
"I think they will have to get down to the business of actually doing the people's business," Candee said, "and then I think they will become much more pragmatic."
Candee said when sharp conflicts arise, he thinks Stewart will really have some swing vote power.
"I see him as sort of a balancer, almost you know, the Anthony Kennedy of the Lane County Board of Commissioners in some respects," Candee said.
But Bozievich said he hopes changes on the board won't lead to a string of 3-2 split votes.
"I think there is a bit of a philosophical shift," Bozievich said. "I don't know if I would call it a power shift."
Leiken had a packed schedule Tuesday and couldn't talk to KVAL News for this story. He has a news conference Wednesday on his upcoming resignation as Springfield mayor and transition to the county board.